Do Spiritual Seekers Need A Teacher?

Q. Thank you for the blog post on loneliness in spiritual awakening. I just entered the phase and kundalini is starting to run through (and it’s very tiring!). From a few books I’ve read and the teachers I’ve followed, it seems they found a teacher “when they were ready.”

Thoughts on if a seeker needs a teacher? This might be partially stemming from the discomfort of the loneliness and anxiety about what I’m going through.

A. Thanks for asking! I don’t know if my words will comfort you or not, but I’ll do my best, and try to explain this in the simplest of manner.

You see, what we call the “me” is incapable of any happiness or joy because of the dualistic character of existence. Every happiness, joy, bliss, peace has an interconnected polar opposite.

So every happiness comes with unhappiness, and every feeling of peace comes with irritation or conflict. The nature of the mind is such that it can not stay contended in any state for long. Therefore, to me, the real awakening is an understanding that there is nothing to seek and things are the way they are.

The day seeking stops, awakening happens spontaneously because there remains no individual “me” or doer of things. The reason why people experience pain and suffering during kundalini awakening is that the dissolution of the ego, which you call the “me” is happening. It is the nature of the ego to offer resistance to anything that threatens it.

Think about it. Who wants liberation? Who is the seeker? It is the ego. Do you think the ego will allow for its dissolution without resistance?

Let it all happen with grace and acceptance. All I can say is that I understand that you’re in pain, but I don’t have a theory or concept that can make you feel better. Do what you need to do. Write, journal, sing, dance, do yoga, meditation, watch tv, talk to someone, and if you can’t do any of these – even that’s okay.

Drop the resistance and let the energy do its job. You don’t need any guru or teacher. These ideas come from old traditions where a few had vested interests. If you read into scriptures, you’ll know they were no different from modern-day power mongers and megalomaniacs.

That said, not every teacher is like that. Mark of a real teacher is humility and compassion, not just in speech, but also in action. Since you mentioned Kundalini, if you were to practice Kundalini Yoga, I would for sure recommend taking the help of someone who’s trained in that.

Practicing yoga and breathing exercises without proper guidance and assistance can be dangerous. Kundalini is a potent energy that can shake up the entire physiological system, therefore, one needs to exercise caution.

However, if you choose the path jnana (knowledge), then it’s better to go through the traditional three-fold process of spiritual awakening:

  • Shravana – acquiring knowledge through books, listening to teachers, and other means.
  • Manana – contemplating the truth based on the teachings.
  • Nididhyasana – living the truth by observing the tenets of the teachings.

It’s true that the teacher comes when you’re ready, but the teacher may be in the form of a book. Don’t wait for a living master to come and teach.

As you mentioned that you’re experiencing a lot of anxiety resulting from an energy surge, a compassionate friend at this time will be much more comforting than a teacher. But don’t worry if don’t have that! Energy surge causes tiredness.

Surrender to this energy with grace and acceptance, and it will lead you to the truth. Trust your own intuition and it will guide you. Your intuition or your higher self is your real guru. Harness it! People who try to force this energy or awakening are the ones of land up in trouble, irrespective of the presence of a guru.

Kundalini yoga has gained a bad reputation. And I’m not surprised because I’ve witnessed it first hand, the horrendous kind of abuse and exploitation it leads the vulnerable people into.

You already are what you’re seeking. How can anyone give you something you already have? It’s just a matter of time when the integration will happen.

The ultimate goal of any spiritual practice is self-realization. The energy easily rises in people who have a harmonious mind, without causing much discomfort. Allow the energy to run its course. In fact, go about your normal way and follow your usual routine.

Our own experience is the best teacher. Don’t believe a word I’ve said until you experience the reality for yourself. I hope this helps!

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Jagjot Singh
Jagjot Singh

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